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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

What’s a Dichotomous Key?

A dichotomous key presents a set of paired choices that describe various plant characteristics. To identify a plant, you choose the description that best matches the plant you are trying to identify. This leads you to another pair of choices. This process of making selections, choosing characteristics that best match your plant from a series of paired options, eventually narrows down to an individual species.

The Go Botany Dichotomous Key covers all 3,500 species, subspecies, and varieties of native and naturalized plants in New England, and is designed for experienced botanists.

While the questions are technical and specific, hundreds of botanical terms are defined and clearly illustrated. The key is based on New England Wild Flower Society's Flora Novae Angliae: A Manual for the Identification of Native and Naturalized Higher Vascular Plants of New England (Haines, 2011).

Dichotomous Key